Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld

Review: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Posted November 6, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Bittersweet by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld, Tad Branson
Series: True North #1
Also in this series: Bittersweet, Steadfast, Steadfast, Bittersweet, Keepsake, Bountiful, Speakeasy, Steadfast, Fireworks, Keepsake, Bountiful, Fireworks
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 348
Length: 9 hours 32 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The new series is set in Vermont. True North is populated by the tough, outdoorsy mountain men that populate the Green Mountain State. They raise cows and they grow apples. They chop a lot of wood, especially when they need to blow off steam. (Beards are optional but encouraged.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

After The Year We Hid Away debacle, I had no plans to read another Sarina Bowen book. None plans. However, as I was looking for new audiobooks to listen to, I thought about how much Holly and Rowena love this author. So I decided what the hell. I might as well give it a listen. Oh my, I’m so glad I did! This book was fantastic.

Audrey Kidder has been banished to Vermont by her employer. After mistake after mistake on the job, Audrey has been sent to buy organic foods from local farms for the restaurants that BPG owns. No problem, right? That’s what Audrey thinks until she sees the price sheet. She knows there is no way any local farmer will take the prices she is authorized to offer.

Griff Shipley doesn’t expect to find Audrey Kidder in the ditch on his driveway when heading home one day. He hadn’t seen her since the two hot nights they had in college. The nights after which she had ignored his calls and never spoken to him again. He didn’t blame her for that, but nor did he want to see her on his farm. Especially when he finds out why she’s there.

I really loved this book. It was sad because Audrey had no self worth. Like zip. Zilch. Zero. She was staying with BPG because she will get a chance to pitch her restaurant idea to them and possibly get funded. She’s tried many things in her short life, but cooking is her calling. Audrey and Griff are still intensely attracted to each other. Their romance seemed like a dead end. Audrey’s dreams were in Boston while Griff couldn’t leave the family farm in Vermont. I was getting close to the end of the book and still didn’t know how they were going to make it work.

This book was funny, too. Audrey was so self-depricating and just funny. She tried not to take things too seriously, but she wanted to be a success. Here’s a one-liner that made me lol even though it was only a thought in Audrey’s head.

I was as good at resisting Griff Shipley as Homer Simpson was at resisting a donut.

I really liked Audrey. When push came to shove, she was loyal as hell. Loyal to Griff. She even went so far as to speak to her mother on his behalf, whom she has been estranged from for two years. Parts of the book were boring (the talk about organic stuff), but it didn’t take over the book.

I’m already listening to Steadfast and am loving it.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

True North

four-stars


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Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted September 28, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Casee
The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Length: 11 hours, 35 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun...or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

I’m relatively new to listening to audiobooks. I’ve listened to four audiobooks in my life. I listened to a Harlen Coben books (weird, huh?) about 20 years ago when he was super popular. In more recent times, I’ve listened to the first two Harry Potter books and this book. I adored the narrator of the HP books. I am on the fence about this narrator. I admit, some of it was me. She talked super slow. Like super slow. I didn’t know I could speed it up. My bad. So I did that and it wasn’t so bad.

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization. She likes being safe in an office. Her life changes when a test that she didn’t even know she had taken shows that she has an aptitude for field work. She’s put into training with a GO-Team and a year of heaven and hell commences.

She’s immediately attracted to Levi Butcher, the GO-Team leader, but knows it can’t go anywhere. For one, he’s her team leader. For another, it’s clear that he doesn’t think much of her. As a woman, Jina thinks that she has to prove herself more than any man would. So she pushes herself harder and farther than she ever thought she could go.

Levi wants her. He has wanted her since the first time he heard her raspy, sexy as hell voice. But she’s off limits. To him and to the guys on the team. If he breaks his own rule, it would kill the trust he has with his team and he is not willing to do that, not even for Jina. So he pushes her harder that he’s ever pushed anyone. He doesn’t cut her any slack, hoping she will quit, knowing that she’ll quit. Except she thrives like he doesn’t expect. Soon she’s a member of their team and Levi knows he might never have her.

When a mission takes them to Syria, they have no idea that they’ve been setup. When the mission that Jina is directing the drone from explodes, Levi is sure that he’s dead. He can’t go back for her body until he gets his injured men to the helicopter. When he does and he turns to go back for Jina, he’s astounded when he sees her running toward the helicopter.

They left her. That’s all Jina could think. She ran five hours in the desert. Five hours until her feet were nothing but raw meat to get to the helicopter before she was left in the desert. Logically she knew that Levi thought she was dead and was going to come back for her. He had to take care of the two injured teammates. But it doesn’t help. He left her.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. LH’s writing has changed drastically. I’m just not really emotionally invested. There was so much of the book that concentrated on Jina’s training, it got boring. Like I know that she’s honed like the blade of a knife. She’s a kick ass woman. Hear her roar. I really admired her. I also admired Levi for his restraint. The tension between the two was off the charts. Still, there was something missing for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

GO-Team

three-stars


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